6 September 2022

Welcome and Farewell to Our AAS Media Fellows

Kerry Hensley

Kerry Hensley American Astronomical Society (AAS)

In 2017 we announced a new AAS-sponsored program for graduate students: the AAS Media Fellowship. This quarter-time opportunity is intended for current graduate students in the astronomical sciences who wish to cultivate their science-communication skills.

Headshot of Ben CasseseWe are pleased to announce that Ben Cassese, an astronomy graduate student at Columbia University, has been selected as our AAS Media Fellow for 2022–2023.

Before beginning his graduate studies, Ben majored in planetary science and history at the California Institute of Technology. Now a second-year graduate student in the astronomy department at Columbia, Ben works with David Kipping to search for moons orbiting planets outside our solar system and understand how the properties of exoplanetary systems can be inferred from subtle clues in transit light curves.

In addition to research, Ben writes for the graduate-student collaboration Astrobites, acts as a research mentor, and has explored his interest in science policy as a Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern. Between college and graduate school, he also successfully thru-hiked the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail.

As the AAS Media Fellow, Ben will regularly write and publish summaries of the latest astronomy research on AAS Nova, assist in managing the distribution of press releases as part of the the AAS Press Office, and gain a broad understanding of the worlds of scientific publishing, communications, and policy. Ben will also be assisting with the press conferences at the upcoming 241st meeting of the AAS, so please say hello if you’re attending the meeting in Seattle, Washington, next January.

As we welcome Ben to the team, we'll also soon bid farewell to Haley Wahl, our 2021–2022 AAS Media Fellow. Haley completed her graduate research on pulsars and defended her dissertation in August 2022. She currently lives in the Washington, DC, area with her new puppy, Jocelyn Belle, and works remotely as a science writer and content creator for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory.

Please join us welcoming Ben as our new Media Fellow and wishing Haley the best in all her future endeavors!